Countering Self-Criticism - with Love

MO-Survivor

Staff member
I read 1 John 3: 18-24 this morning as a part of my daily reading. This is so pertinent to where I’ve been the last couple of weeks. The last two weeks my T and I have talked about my younger teen / early 20’s self. And I’ve expressed plenty of anger both in and at (as my adult self) that kid. We are working thru that, trying to give him a voice and find empathy and compassion for him. I found that sad, lonely, angry, and depressing feelings are readily accessible when opening myself up to what that teen kid felt. And I was down and depressed for several days.

Then… I talked to my good friend, the one I met when I was 18. The one who, along with his wife, showed me unconditional love, affection, and a place to belong. I had messaged him what I was feeling earlier in the week. He told me he was surprised that I said I look back at that teen self with anger and a desire to ignore him. He said, “Because I knew that kid. And I loved, forgave, and had compassion towards him.” I said, “I know… you did.” And I talked a bit more about why I felt like I did.

When we were done talking, those feelings of depression and sadness just fell off me completely. I realized just how significant those friends are to me - especially to that 18 - 20-something kid / young man. So while the scripture below is true about God’s love directly for us, it also explains why John goes to such lengths to encourage us to love each other in the same way. You and I really do have the ability to rescue those in need, by loving them in this way. But for many of us here, we may first have to receive that kind of love to be able to then share it back. And that’s one of my most frequent prayers - that those who come here would get to experience that kind of love - that frees us from “debilitating self-criticism” and from “our worried hearts.” Those who are able to love and have shown it to me - thank you too! May we always strive to pass it on to others.

1 John 3 (The Message)
18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

21-24 And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.
 

Samson360

Registrant
Thank you so much for this post. Daily I find myself telling myself how worthless I am and how much I hate myself. At 53 years old the words of my father as a little boy, still stir in my mind today. I do have a wonderful and loving church family and I also dedicate myself to volunteering at a local ministry were I am able to get out of myself and help others that are less fortunate. My mother instilled in me to always be willing to help anyone that was in need and I have tried to do that all my life. To love everyone without judgment whatsoever. But I'm lost as to why I hate myself so much. Aside from my father's verbal abuse and being molested at a very young age and becoming disabled and losing my vision, my mother and my swim coach at the blind school hammered into me to not let my disabilities ever get in the way of living life to the fullest. And I haven't except for the severe depression I fall into sometimes. I just wish I could put those negative words that my father put in me out of my mind once and for all and just realize that I have a father in heaven completely unconditionally loves me and then maybe I could start loving myself.
 
One of the statements often repeated in the 12 Step fellowship I've been part of for almost thirteen years is "We'll love you until you love yourself." Like the steady drip of water falling on a rock, this refrain and the caring that comes with it has slowly been changing me. When I started a new meeting two years ago with the title "Childhood Trauma and Its Impact" I wrote a line in the Closing that I've used here on occasion... Self-compassion is the antidote to shame and self-care a confirmation that we are worthy, lovable, cherished. Yes, trauma survivors invariably feel worthless and marinate in shame. The verses you quote speak to the solution offered in the form of God's love. That is important to remember for all of us, whether that particular God is the one we call our Higher Power. Compassion and self-care are essential to healing.
 
I read 1 John 3: 18-24 this morning as a part of my daily reading. This is so pertinent to where I’ve been the last couple of weeks. The last two weeks my T and I have talked about my younger teen / early 20’s self. And I’ve expressed plenty of anger both in and at (as my adult self) that kid. We are working thru that, trying to give him a voice and find empathy and compassion for him. I found that sad, lonely, angry, and depressing feelings are readily accessible when opening myself up to what that teen kid felt. And I was down and depressed for several days.

Then… I talked to my good friend, the one I met when I was 18. The one who, along with his wife, showed me unconditional love, affection, and a place to belong. I had messaged him what I was feeling earlier in the week. He told me he was surprised that I said I look back at that teen self with anger and a desire to ignore him. He said, “Because I knew that kid. And I loved, forgave, and had compassion towards him.” I said, “I know… you did.” And I talked a bit more about why I felt like I did.

When we were done talking, those feelings of depression and sadness just fell off me completely. I realized just how significant those friends are to me - especially to that 18 - 20-something kid / young man. So while the scripture below is true about God’s love directly for us, it also explains why John goes to such lengths to encourage us to love each other in the same way. You and I really do have the ability to rescue those in need, by loving them in this way. But for many of us here, we may first have to receive that kind of love to be able to then share it back. And that’s one of my most frequent prayers - that those who come here would get to experience that kind of love - that frees us from “debilitating self-criticism” and from “our worried hearts.” Those who are able to love and have shown it to me - thank you too! May we always strive to pass it on to others.

1 John 3 (The Message)
18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

21-24 And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.
Thank you for these beautiful, true words!
Romans 8:31 "...If God is for us, who can be against us?" We can - we can be against ourselves. However, when we do so, we are believing the lies that were taught to us explicitly and/or implicitly when we were raped, abused, molested, neglected as young, impressionable children. We learned that we were not loved and therefore deemed ourselves not worthy of love. It all sounds, in a way, kind of corny but it is devastatingly true that many "survivors" have such a self image... I, at the age of 69, am only now coming to the realization of just how ashamed of myself that I am. I feel that others despise me and look down upon me in disgust and hold me in disdain.... but as my T explained to me, even if that were true, it would have little impact on me if I did not think and feel those things about myself.
So, I know with my head - due to my sincere faith - that God loves me - but I am just learning (I feel) to really believe that in my heart... to know that God loves me - then who am I not to love myself and, in turn, to love God - and people.
 

MO-Survivor

Staff member
Thank you @Samson360, @Visitor, and @I'm Alive for responding thoughtfully to this post. I just wanted to say that all three of you are visibly putting this into practice when you interact with others here, hoping to encourage them, helping them see and know they aren't alone, helping them understand what they are experiencing is normal, and giving them a place here to belong!
 
Top